Spring is in the air

You just can't help it but get excited thinking about spring football. You are shaking off the cold, you might have even wore shorts outside for the first time this year, but then you realize that you haven't had football since the Pro Bowl. The drought is about over folks and now let's talk about what you should be looking for this spring.

Spring football, for me, is the last thing that I look forward to athletically (along with March Madness) until August. I am not a baseball fan and the NBA and NHL finals are what they once were. So for me, things don't get interesting again until fall camp.

But, spring football is a great chance to spark talk about what might be in the fall. More than that though, you have to have an idea of what to look for, areas of improvement from the fall to the spring, that you hope will continue to blossom into the fall. Here are the first things that I will be looking for this spring:

1. Finding a replacement for Titus Adams and Le Kevin Smith and developing depth. Right now, the DT position may be the thinnest of any of the positions on the depth chart. You are losing two very good players and are really only returning Ola Dagundero and Barry Cryer who saw significant minutes last year. You would like to see Ndamukong Suh, and the rumors that he is 315 and running like a linebacker, be true this spring. It's definitely a position that Nebraska can't afford any injuries at. Furthermore, you have to look for a guy to emerge there. Don't be surprised if you see Adam Carriker and Ty Steinkuhler inside this spring to help out and get a look.

2. Who is going to stand out at linebacker. It's amazing that Steve Octavien had to basically miss the entire year last year. I mean, we all saw in the very limited amount of minutes what type of player he could be. By the sound of it though he will be back in time to get some reps in for the spring, which is just great news. This spring will be about wanting to see Lance Brandenburgh, Phillip Dillard, and others still try and take up the slack of being down Stewart Bradley and Bo Ruud who are both still questionable for the spring.

3. Can Matt Herian return to form? This is one of the biggest question marks on the offensive side of the football. The play from the tight end position since Herian's injury against Missouri two years ago has been almost non-existent. It is a fact that there is not only a clear drop-off in talent from Herian to the other tight ends, but a huge drop-off at that. The people have heard that Herian has added some size to what was a pretty slight frame, but will it help him in blocking and is there a mental barrier that he will have to cross when it comes to him playing in this physical sport again?

4. How will the personnel shake out along the offensive line? Nebraska will have Victory Haines to come in and plug an immediate hole at offensive tackle left by last year's starting, departing offensive tackles. You have to at least view the loss of a redshirt year for Cornelius Fuamatu Thomas too as a blow to the depth at that position for at least the spring. There is the return of Andy Christensen and the potential that he was showing in fall practices last year until the shoulder injury. There is also the possible move of Greg Austin to center, Matt Slauson to guard, Craig Roark to only playing guard and how players like Jacob Hickman, Rodney Picou and Brock Pasteur will do with a year under their belts.

5. Lucky, Glenn and Leon Jackson will step up to replace departed Cory Ross and injured Brandon Jackson. This is a chance for this very young, but extremely talented group of running backs to get meaningful reps in every type of situation so that they may have that type of experience for the fall. It was obvious that Marlon Lucky wasn't as ready as what most thought, and that was alright. Cody Glenn showed flashes of brilliance in the short yardage situations, but both he and Lucky needed to learn pass protection. Now, here comes Leon Jackson who is yet another different type of runner who can be used in many different ways to give you an advantage on offense.

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